Rouhi Savoji emigrated to the U.S. in 1995 for more than just a change of scenery. She wanted to share her passion for belly dancing and Persian dance, which she first discovered in a dance club in her native Tehran at age 16 and would continue to refine through a heralded dance career that included performing for the Shah of Iran and acting in plays, movies, and television shows. Her globe-spanning experience is on full display at Rouhi Dance Studio, where she and her talented troupe of dance instructors teach classes that unlock styles including salsa, hip-hop, Zumba, country-western, Argentinean tango, belly dancing, and Persian dance for kids and adults. Her studio also houses a clothing boutique, where dancers can outfit themselves with shimmery costumes and sashes that can help them stand out on the dance floor or earn a boy-scout badge for improvised semaphore.
Time 4 Class’s owner, Sandra Rieback, began dancing at age 7, but her career was cut short due to a debilitating back injury. Unable to keep away from the studio, she took matters into her own hands and got certified to teach fitness classes and work as a personal trainer. Shortly thereafter, Sandra opened her own studio, and she was once again immersed in the electrifying energy of group classes. Now, along with a team of instructors, Sandra leads classes for adults that range from cardio Zumba classes and yoga to boxing, boot camps, personal training, and nutrition counseling. Unlike those fitness classes that meet inside R-rated movies, kids can also join the fun with classes such as ballet, kids Zumba, and musical theater.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with an instructor as the teachers assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Few professionals can credit Flashdance with rerouting the course of their career. In fact, Richard Giorla could be the only one. The unconventional dance moves he saw in the film motivated the former Pennsylvania Ballet Company member to hit the streets of his new home, Manhattan, and learn breakdancing from dancers at the heart of the movement, trading his own dance expertise as payment. Richard’s career was in full swing when, struck with an injury, he started teaching a ballet-barre class. Though he appreciated its stretching and toning components, Richard craved a more aerobic workout. So he created his own solution—Cardio Barre.
The unique workout consists of high-energy, zero-impact movements that sculpt the long, slender body of a dancer without a student ever having to step foot in a traditional dance studio. As they balance on the ballet barre, or whichever classmate is closest, pupils direct all their focus to one muscle group at a time, while the entire body stays in motion for maximum fat burning. His approach’s pudge-busting abilities have made the fitness method a favorite of many health magazines and celebrities.
Since she started tapping her toes at the age of 8, Nadia Eftedal has gone on to grace the global stage with ballroom moves that earned her prizes all over the world. Today, she organizes one of the nation's top dance seminars and has served as the American judge in the Open British Championships, which challenges dancers to maneuver their feet around extra U's. In her airy, blond-wood studio, Nadia leads an international cast of championship dancers that teaches ballroom dancing to children and adults, supplying them with skills in styles such as salsa, swing, and mambo. Group lessons, private classes, and workshops are each available in a variety of levels, whether pupils want to casually cut rugs, enter serious competitions, or settle legal disputes with courtroom dance-offs. Clients with a wedding or special event on their calendar can also consult with the instructors to develop a custom curriculum.
At the end of a fruitful career that led her from the Cincinnati Ballet to the Sacramento Ballet, Jennifer Williams funneled her dance savvy into creating the barre-inspired exercise system taught at Pop Physique, a 2013 CityVoter finalist for Best Gym. Her fleet of handpicked and personally trained instructors pairs graceful ballet moves with other low-impact exercises in order to chisel cores without injuring muscles. Deep stretches further preserve tendons and leave each student more relaxed than a tortoise moseying past a state patrolman with a radar gun. Sessions run multiple times a day, seven days a week at an expanding network of SoCal locations. The roomy studios are lined with sprung dance floors and design accents that lend each location a distinct personality and a chance to forget its past as a storage room for defective food processors.